The Walters Art Museum has created new digital content to engage visitors with its collections and programming during the museum’s temporary closure due to COVID-19 (coronavirus).
The new efforts are distributed through the Walters’ website and social media channels, and include Look at Art, Make Art, a weekly step-by-step art making tutorial, and Walters Ed Delivery, a helpline for questions from students and teachers staffed by the Walters education, curatorial, and conservation departments. Future plans include talks from curators, conservators, and local artists, expanded resources for K-12 teachers, and interactive galleries of art from the community.
“We believe our commitment to free, open access extends into the digital world, especially during a time of crisis when creativity and community are needed more than ever,” said Julia Marciari-Alexander, Andrea B. and John H. Laporte Director. “We hope that this content serves to inspire and educate in new ways, and we aim to continue these efforts long after we welcome you back to the physical museum.”
The new content adds to an already robust online presence, as the Walters has been a leader among museums in digitizing its collections for more than a decade. Its award-winning website Ex Libris provides access to many of the museum’s incredible manuscripts. On its new Virtual Museum page, the Walters features art lessons for teachers and students of all ages, an app that allows visitors to explore the newly transformed 1 West Mount Vernon Place, also known as Hackerman House, and links to the fully digital The Journal of the Walters Art Museum.
The Walters announced on March 13 that it would close the museum temporarily in alignment with public health guidance related to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The museum has cancelled all of its spring events and programs but is working to bring some of them to online audiences.
“The Walters’ digital efforts promise to be of tremendous value to the community,” said Kate Burgin, Deputy Director of Engagement. “Art is a transformative force, particularly in times of stress and uncertainty, and it is exciting to see how the museum is enriching a whole new audience.”
Top Image: Miniature from Guillaume de Digulleville’s Le pèlerinage de la vie humaine – image courtesy Walters Art Museum